I'm happy to introduce Alan Wright to you all today. He's my younger brother and I'm still completely in shock that he's all grown and writing things (and writing well, I'll proudly add!) Here's his contribution to the Empathy series.
It Started With Fishing...
It all started one day when I went out fishing with my brother Peter. I was developing a bit of a cold and if I knew anything that was to come later I would've stayed home. But no, of course he needs my help fishing because I always catch a ton more than he does.
It was getting late in the day and I was so tired and just wanted to go home and to bed when this strange fellow just comes walking up to us as if we were his best buddies or something.
“Friends!” he said, “come follow me.”
I could do nothing but just stare at him dumbly. And of course while doing so, my fish got away, which I was not too pleased about.
“Come follow me,” he repeated, “and I will have you fish for people instead of these.”
I nearly choked on a glob of air! And not many people can do that. Fish for people? How absurd! I was just about to dish him off, or whatever the word is, when of course my brother blurts out just the opposite.
“Yeh—yeah...I mean, of course!”
Now there was some sort of strange look on my brother's face I haven't ever seen before. It looked not unlike the dead fish he was holding. As for the strange man, he only smiled and spoke “very good! Off we go then.”
Peter always manages to get into trouble somehow, and worst of all I usually follow him into it. This time, however, is different. I had no mind to go anywhere but home and to bed. So of course one must voice his opinion in these circumstances. I made up my mind and opened my mouth to speak.
That of course is not what I meant to say. The other two looked back at me, and with a quizzical look Peter shouted, “well what are you waiting for Andrew, hurry up!”
I don't remember a lot of what happened the next few days, or was it weeks? I found myself following my brother around with this strange man. After these days I suppose you might say I've seen everything now. This strange man was taking us around healing the diseased and crippled, casting out demons and such! I have never seen anything like it. The strangest thing about all this though, is that some dudes in long robes came and complained about us and tried to lecture him about his authority and all that rot.
Of all the nerve! They should be happy for these poor fellows for goodness sakes! I didn't like the looks of them at all. The best part of it is when the strange man (who we called our teacher by this point) lectured them back and sent them away tails between their legs. However, I have a sick feeling we haven't seen the last of them...
It came time one day that we were to leave the place we were. We were not going to go very far, just across the lake. I assume we were leaving because there wasn't much else to do. It was such a nice day and I laid on the deck to get a few hours of shut-eye. Right before I drifted off I heard my brother talking to someone else about how nice the weather looked and how awesome those clouds looked. So peaceful everything was that even if I had any say in the matter, I could not keep from dozing off.
I awoke with a start. Or rather with a ton of water bucketed into my face and up my nose. I was just about to blame my brother for playing such a nasty trick but to my surprise the whole place was nearly as dark as night! Torrents of rain dumped from the skies. The winds were blowing hard and people were running about tossing water out of the boat with buckets. Lightning crashed and thunder boomed all around us. The main thing that set us off was that monstrous wind. The boat shook and rocked under the pressure!
I rushed to help them, bucketing water out of the boat. At this rate though things looked quite hopeless.
“We'll all drown!” one shouted, I think it was the one with the wrinkled face, Judas I think his name was.
“Where's the teacher at a time like this!” another shouted.
“I'll look for him!” I said, though likely he had fallen out and drowned but I couldn't be sure since all was dark. I ran hysterically about the boat, but to no avail until suddenly I tripped on a lump of something soft and fell flat on my nose. I scurried up to see what it was that I tripped on, and behold, it was the master himself! At first sight it looked like he was dead and I gasped with horror!
At a second glance though I saw him move. He turned over and began snoring!
“Sleeping!?!?!” I shrieked. Of all the nerve. We are all about to drown, die, and worse, but all our leader can do is lie down on the job, and sleep!
“Teacher!” I shouted, “Wake up! How can you be sleeping when we are all about to die? Do you not care?”
“Save us, master!” another yelled as he received a blow from a wave across the face.
He stirred a bit and opened his eyes, but then closed them again, “five more minutes...” he mumbled.
“MASTER!!!” we all shouted in unison.
At length he finally got up and brushed himself off, squeezed water out of his hair, hit his head to get the water out of his ears, and wiped his face with a cloth. He looked rather cross with us.
“All of you,” he spoke, “you of little faith! I told you we would get in this boat and cross the lake so why did you not believe me?”
After these words none of us could find anything to say but stood dumbfounded and very confused to say the least. But that did not stop the teacher from taking action. He walked slowly towards the front of the boat, fists clenched, unaffected by the rocking and tipping the wind and water caused. He stood like a statue at the bow of the boat, robes flowing in the wind, his face more grim than the skies above. I have never seen him like this before, not even when he dispelled demons. I was beginning to be more afraid of him than the weather about us, and I think I could say the same for everyone else here too.
The master stretched out his arms wide apart, still steadfast, not wavered by the wind, nor the rain, or the violence at which the boat tossed the rest of us around. At last he spoke in a sharp, but strong and commanding voice that echoed several times across the entire lake.
“Silence! Be still and hinder us no more!” At once he brought his fists together and with a flash of light brighter than lightning and a noise louder than thunder, the clouds above burst into flames and all was still once again. The skies were peaceful and the sun shone, leaving all that was drenched with water bright and sparkling.. Vapors of mist floated about us left over from the clouds and soon settled into the lake.
Still grim as ever, the master turned around to face the crowd of dead fish lying about the boat and eyed each one of us, myself included.
“Have you no faith at all,” he said once again, but then broke off with a smile “why are you all still afraid? I am here.”
I don't know that I ever looked at him the same since. Who is this man, that even the winds, the seas, and the skies obey his commands?
Based on Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 1:16-19, Mark 4:35-41.